Decentralized airdrop to open source developers
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Redemption tool for the Handshake network's decentralized airdrop to open source developers.

How it works

The top ~250,000 users on github have had their SSH keys and PGP added to a merkle tree. Out of those ~250,000 users, ~175,000 of them had valid SSH and PGP keys at the time of tree creation.

If you had 15 or more followers on github during the week of 2018-08-27, your github SSH & PGP keys are included in the merkle tree.

Likewise, roughly 30,000 keys from the PGP WOT Strongset have also been included in the tree.

This merkle tree is computed and its root is added to consensus rules of the Handshake blockchain, allowing the owner of a key to publish a signed merkle proof on-chain in order to redeem their airdrop.

With the key list as it currently stands, every open source developer will receive 4,662.598321 HNS coins from the airdrop (subject to change before mainnet).

There are a few gotchas: we do not allow standard PGP signatures on the consensus layer. This is done for simplicity and safety. This means that a regular call to $ gpg --sign will not work for handshake airdrop proofs. As far as SSH keys go, people typically do not sign arbitrary messages with them.

Because of this, we require a special tool to do both the signing and merkle proof creation.


An airdrop to Github and PGP users presents an obvious privacy concern: Github and PGP keys are generally tied to a person's real identity. While impractical, a determined analyst could link an on-chain airdrop redemption to a person's identity.

To solve the privacy issue in a non-interactive way, a 32 byte scalar has been encrypted to your public key (you will have to grind a file full of encrypted blobs to find it). For EC keys, this scalar is meant to be added to your existing key pair (a la HD derivation). For RSA keys, a much more complicated setup is necessary. In either case, once your new key is derived using this scalar, you will be able to find its corresponding leaf in the merkle tree published above.

Publishing a signed airdrop proof using this method does not leak any information about your actual identity.

The full list of keys will be destroyed upon mainnet launch. Plaintext nonces are not saved at all during the generation phase. The ephemeral keys used for the ECIES key exchanges are also not saved.


If you're uncomfortable having third party software access your PGP and SSH keys, you are always able to generate this proof on an air-gapped machine. QR code generation will be added to this tool for convenience (eventually).

Signed tarballs of this software will be released upon mainnet launch.

Fallback for HSMs

Not everyone keeps their SSH and PGP keys on their laptop. In the event that your key is not accessible by the signing tool, the signing tool can present you with the raw data needed to be signed. Your regular key is also included in the merkle tree (concatenated with a random nonce, seeded by the encrypted scalar to preserve privacy). Unfortunately, this will forgo the privacy preservation mechanism described above.

Accepted Key Algorithms

To simplify consensus implementation, we only allow the top 3 most popular key algorithms used on github:

  • RSA (1024 to 4096 bit modulus, e <= 33 bits) - See the Handshake paper as to why 1024 bit moduli are considered acceptable.
  • Ed25519
  • P256 (NIST curve)

Faucet Migration

If you submitted an address to the Handshake faucet, it will be included in the mainnet merkle tree.


$ hs-airdrop
hs-airdrop v0.0.0

This tool will create the proof necessary to
collect your faucet reward, airdrop reward, or
sponsor reward on the Handshake blockchain.

Usage: $ hs-airdrop [key-file] [id] [addr] [fee] --bare
       $ hs-airdrop [key-file] [addr] [fee] --bare
       $ hs-airdrop [addr] [value]
       $ hs-airdrop [addr] [value] --sponsor

  [key-file] can be:
    - An SSH private key file.
    - An exported PGP armor keyring (.asc).
    - An exported PGP raw keyring (.pgp/.gpg).

  [id] is only necessary for PGP keys.

  [addr] must be a Handshake bech32 address.
  [value] must be the coin value awarded to you (in HNS).
  [fee] must be a coin value (in HNS).

  The --sponsor flag is necessary for project sponsors.

  The --bare flag will use your existing public key.
  This is not recommended as it makes you identifiable

  This tool will provide a JSON representation of
  your airdrop proof as well as a base64 string.

  The base64 string must be passed to:
    $ hsd-rpc sendrawairdrop "base64-string"

  $ hs-airdrop ~/.gnupg/secring.gpg 0x12345678 ts1q5z7yym8xrh4quqg3kw498ngy7hnd4sruqyxnxd 0.5
  $ hs-airdrop ~/.ssh/id_rsa ts1q5z7yym8xrh4quqg3kw498ngy7hnd4sruqyxnxd 0.5
  $ hs-airdrop ~/.ssh/id_rsa ts1q5z7yym8xrh4quqg3kw498ngy7hnd4sruqyxnxd 0.5 --bare
  $ hs-airdrop ts1q5z7yym8xrh4quqg3kw498ngy7hnd4sruqyxnxd 5000
  $ hs-airdrop ts1q5z7yym8xrh4quqg3kw498ngy7hnd4sruqyxnxd 1000000 --sponsor


MIT License.

See LICENSE for more info.